Osnat Lubrani: International Day for Professional Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
Dear Excellencies, colleagues and guests,
On behalf of UNDP/UN Agencies I am delighted to attend this Conference to mark the International Day for Professional Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
The Kosovo Human Development Report published by UNDP in 2010 identified persons with disabilities as one of the most excluded and marginalized social groups in Kosovo. In particular rural women and youth with disabilities often have to face double discrimination.
Despite the approval of laws aiming at improving the situation of PWDs, the official recognition of the sign language, and the publication of the National Disabilities Action Plan 2009-2011 – positive steps forward recently taken - there is a significant need of effective implementation and monitoring, since the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the society is far from being the reality.
Given that the high unemployment rate is one of the core priorities in Kosovo, in 2011, through the Active Labor Market Programme, UNDP has supported 441 persons, 24 of whom (5% of the total beneficiaries) were persons with disabilities. Training and internship opportunities have been offered, both within the private and public sector. The project marked its sustainability, hence 4 of the trained persons with disabilities have been permanently employed, in private companies: 2 in Gjilan,1 in Mitrovica,1 in Kamenica.
Furthermore in cooperation with the Office of Good Governance and OSCE, UNDP this year will support the Temporary Employment of 10 persons with disabilities, both within UNDP and different Ministries and Municipalities.
Next month UNDP will publish a report conducted in 2011, in cooperation with the OGG, on the conditions of persons with disabilities in Kosovo. One of the findings stressed the concern of the high percentage of Persons with Disabilities unemployed, with a low level of education and facing stigma and challenges in social participation.
Only about 6% of those interviewed (out of 950 respondents) are permanently employed, while 52% of them report being unemployed. Half of them identified their impairment as the reason for being unemployment and overall they perceive that employers, both in public or private sector, are not willing to hire them.
By marking this Day, I would like to encourage ourselves, international organizations, public and private sectors to make a step forward for make a positive impact on PWDs’ lives and to implement the Law on Vocational Ability, Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities.
I strongly believe that this initiative can lead to raise awareness and inspiration, and being an example for other employers to work towards the realization of an inclusive society, where persons with disabilities’ rights are human rights, and not mere compassion and charity.
We also look forward to building on these positive developments and assure you of UNDP’s readiness to support further social inclusion projects in Kosovo.